This is a quick little post.

When I started sculpting with paper clay in 2012, I created a Santa.

I have recently been working on another Santa, and I wanted to share how my skills have progressed.

I can’t believe how far I have come!

Santa 2012

Santa 2019

Practice, practice, practice!

Although I have not sculpted a large number of dolls in those years, I have been watching many tutorials, learning, and making changes in how I sculpt.

I will be posting more on my Santa Elf soon!

 

 

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So, the woods are full of little creatures.  You just have to believe they are there to see them.

On a walk in the woods, I passed this tiny woman creature along the path. She had a sweet kind face with golden eyes and smelled of lavender.

She told me her name was Maude. She collects mushrooms to take to the market.  (That’s the fairy market, not the people market).

Maude hadn’t had time to change out of her slightly soiled dress and apron with her hair in slight disarray from foraging for the mushrooms.  She was late to the market, so she had quickly donned her ‘goin’ to market’ vest and hat.

 

I bid her goodbye, but she has agreed to bring you some mushrooms if you’d like.

 

Maude’s head, hands, and feet are sculpted from paper clay and hand painted with acrylic paint and sealed with a matte varnish.  The body is a soft polyester fiberfill over a wire armature and Maude also has her body stuffed with dried lavender. She has natural fiber hair.

Her vest is created from a vintage velvet patchwork dress and embellished by me with hand embroidery.  The mushroom basket is created from woven card stock strips and the mushrooms created with paper clay and all hand painted with acrylic paints.

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This young man has been being very difficult, giving me quite the hard time.  He’s on a mission, you see, and doesn’t have time for nonsense.  He’s been summoned by the embassy on a very important task. (He must find Alice, you see.)  I was just getting in his way.

Maurice Lapin is ready to go with his red and black silk smoking jacket underneath his vintage suede overcoat.  He has a buttoned up white shirt and a vintage silk scarf which can be worn around the collar of his jacket or tied around his neck.  His faux leather spats protect his legs and his vintage silk pants as he dashes off on his missions.  He is ready for anything.

He also has goggles he can wear, hung around his neck, or be taken off completely.

This little bunny stands all on his own, but he has a custom stand for added stability.

Time to Go!

When I received the porcelain doll parts from a friend, who said, “Didn’t you mention that you could find someone who could use these?” (I did say that).  I was going to give/sell them.  But actually, shipping these so they get across the country in one piece is a little cost prohibitive, especially the whole lot at once.

So here I was, looking at this array of body parts, and my artistic self was drawn to the head that had the broken breast piece.

To me, she looked like Arwen, (played by Liv Tyler) from Lord of the Rings trilogy.  So I said to self, ‘How about gluing that one back together and keeping her?’   There just happened to be in the bin of parts, some arms and legs that were of proper proportion for her.  The arms are in the bin because one of the hands had some broken fingers as well, so I couldn’t possibly give or sell those to someone anyway. Could I?

I glued her back together and created a body armature in the same way I create armatures for the dolls that I sculpt myself.

The dress is a variation on patterns originally created by Denisa at molendrix. She has amazing patterns she created for 12 inch dolls, but my porcelain doll is nearly twice that size, so I had to do some work enlarging the pattern to fit.  I used a combination of pattern pieces from the Farewell Dress and the Rose Dress patterns on her site.  Testing the patterns with scrap fabric is a must before cutting into the actual fabric.

And I had the perfect fabric for her costume, a vintage apron that I couldn’t possibly part with.

It was a daphenous polyester voile in a periwinkle and aqua blue abstract floral on one side and a periwinkle crepe satin on the other which I used for the outer dress.

I also used a darker turquoise blue silky polyester lining on the floral dress.

I used this exercise to practice my hand sewing skills so all the costume is sewn by hand, no machine used.

These silky polyester fabrics are sooo hard to work with!

I vow to go back to working on lesser elves who wear common, natural fabrics of cotton and linen!

Each piece is custom tailored to every doll I make.  (On the first picture, you can see where her collar was broken and repaired.)

Next step in the process is doing something with the bald head.  I found a farm in New Hampshire that sells online, Nightingale Fibers.  How could I resist a name like that!  (I live on Nightingale Lane!)  They had a beautiful dark brown dyed Corriedale wool, which probably is not the correct fiber to be using for doll hair, but I’m going to try to make it work.  You will see in the final pics that the hair is not as long as I would have liked since a lot of it combed out in the final process, but it turned out ok.

For the wigging process, I used the tutorial by Adele Po.

Now, I have to work on accessories and shoes because someone asked about shoes.  (Thank you, my dear sister, for that!)

I’m creating my own shoe pattern from her foot and using knowledge I’ve gathered from reading so many tutorials on line that I couldn’t possibly pinpoint any one for how I created these.  I had this little piece of tapestry ribbon that I’ve saved for a quite a while, it was so pretty, I couldn’t throw it out!  (can I say pack rat!)  I was glad to finally find a use for it.  I also used a piece of faux suede and the same lining from her dress.

The process was to create the shoe, the sole and a lining, and put them together.

Then there are the small details like hand embroidery, beading, and this closure made from a pair of silver earrings that I no longer wear.

I love reusing small items like this to repurpose for my doll’s costumes.

So, here is the final result of a couple of weeks work, working on it off and on.

This is an example of the work that goes into costuming an art doll.

 

I really can’t decide which photo I like best.

Arwen is wearing a morning dress as she sits in the courtyard waiting for Aragorn to return.

 

Thank you for reading the process for creating this costume!  Please subscribe to my page to see all my future art work!

Bees are disappearing.  They are falling down dead as they busily go about their very important tasks.

Queen Bee has lost her subjects.  She doesn’t know what has happened to them.  They didn’t come home and those who did were sick and soon died.  Poisoned!  The flowers! The flowers were poisoned!  Who would do such a thing to her loyal subjects!  What is there to be done? Who is the culprit?

Sadness and despair envelopes her as she stands to face the unfortunate future.  She clasps her precious Book of Truth, hoping to gain some strength from it’s weight, but it only gives a false sense of security.  It tells her all she needs to know.  That there is no one to trust any more.

He crown is straight, her eyes look ahead to the future, as her wings slowly flutter.  What will be her fate?

 

Queen Bee was created with many repurposed items.  Her body is created from an old necklace stand.  She has wings fashioned from a child’s laser cut wooden butterfly model.  Her skirt was a chair cover that I have been holding onto for about 15 years, waiting for just the right project to use it on.  Her face is sculpted from paper clay and hand painted with plastic doll eyes.  Her headdress and veil has hand beaded trim.  Her crown is fashioned from a 3-d printed plastic band, painted, and embellished with various rhinestones and flat backed beads.  Her Book of Truth is handcrafted with a casting of a bee in paper clay on the front.

Queen Bee’s wings have a crank which when turned, causes her wings to flutter up and down.  You can see it in action here.

Thank you so much for looking at my work.

 

Find my artist page on Facebook here.

And on Instagram @pewter_periwinkles

We all know the legend of the Great Pumpkin who rises at midnight on Halloween, right?.  So what do the rest of the pumpkins left in the pumpkin patch do?

What if I told you the pumpkins magically come to life, and a great celebration takes place?  There is much singing, dancing and frolicking for the pumpkins who did not get selected for the festivities of All Hallows Eve.

I was fortunate enough to witness this fantastical event for myself.  Hiding on the edge of the field, I waited for the witching hour to arrive.  As the pumpkins rose to their newly acquired feet, they began to sing and make music, and I couldn’t help but let out a tiny chuckle.

To my surprise, Peter, Paul and Merry were close by enough to hear me.  Instead of running in fear, Peter gave me a saucy wink, and I knew all was well.  They told me of how excited they were to be alive, and it was decided that they would come home with me.

I am so delighted to give them a new home where they play their music and sing their songs of the fields and full moons.

Everything was made by me including the clothing and instruments.  The dolls heads, hands, and feet are sculpted from paper clay then hand painted and sealed. Their stems are a combination of pieces of driftwood and sculpting integrating them to the head. The body is polyester batting on a wire armature.  Clothing is made using a combination of new and vintage fabrics.  The instruments are made of wood, paper, and various embellishments.

 

They will be listed soon on my etsy shop.

Update:  These three never made it onto my Etsy shop!  They were sold to a local collector.  Many thanks to the wonderful couple who bought them.

 

When the call for art at the Salem Art Association was titled “Untold Stories,”  I knew it was time to put together an idea I have had rolling around in the back of my brain for some time.  There was so much about my maternal grandmother, and all my grandparents for that matter, that I did not know.  They were immigrants from Canada, French Canadians.  They spoke very little English, so there was a language barrier that I was not old enough to know how to surpass.  It was in doing my ancestral research that I learned more about them and the lives they led.

My grandmother arrived in the United States with her parents and siblings around 1910 or 1911 (depending on which source document you look at) from Stanbridge, Quebec.  They settled in Winooski, Vermont, where she and her sisters gained employment at the local mill.  The young ladies that worked in the mills back then were called mill girls.  I think my grandmother and her sisters were fortunate in that  they had a home to go to at night and a family to look out for them.  Many of the young women migrating from Canada and the rural countryside who came to the larger cities for employment were alone, and lived in dormitory type housing provided by the mills.

She met her future husband probably at a church function.  I have possession of several post cards that were written back and forth between them, and I included copies I created in the shrine to my ‘mill girl,’ the untold story of my grandmother, Marie Anna Bilodeau Ferland.

 

Front and back of shrine.  The shrine has a faux distressed, crackle finish on the outside embellished with distressed tags.  On the back is one of the reproduction of a turn of the century Valentine postcards.  Cotton and Wool, commodities of the mills, is stamped across the top.

I have covered the inside of the shrine with a raised design paper colored with inks and distressed, giving the paper an old wallpaper feel.  embellishments include old buttons and thread spools, tags and her genuine reading glasses.  More reproductions of her Valentines fill her most sacred space.

The photo in the background was taken by Lewis Hine who photographed many mill workers from across the United States, and documented their working conditions and life.  It is not actually of my grandmother, although it could have been. This photo is a French Canadian young lady named Adrienne Pagnette working in a mill in Winchendon MA in 1911.  Many of Lewis Hines’ work can be viewed at the J. Paul Getty Museum website here.  Unfortunately, many of his subjects are not named.

Inside, behind Marie Anna’s photo, is a shrine inside a shrine.  A faded rosebud lies beneath the cross and a ‘brooch’ mimicking the one she wears in the photo lies in the deepest recesses.